Summer is ending, and “Back-to-School” season is upon us. As students prepare for the preparation, organization, studying skills, and full-on focus that they must once again put into their studies, things can start to feel a bit daunting, and if this describes you, then it’s important to do your best to maintain your mental health not only during the school year, but as you prepare for it as well. This is because getting in the right mindset before you start anything new is essential to the success of whatever that “new” thing might be. In the case of a new school year, many students struggle with making time for themselves, expressing their emotions, and staying in a grateful state so that when challenges come their way, they’re able to overcome them gracefully and continue doing their best.
Making Time for Yourself
One of the most important things you can do as a student, especially as a college student who can potentially have a million different things going on at once, is to make time for yourself… even during a hectic week or busy schedule. When tasks and commitments begin to pile up and you get so in your head about what needs to get done, you forget to take a step back, evaluate the situation you’re in, and take a breath. When tasks pile up like this and you begin to feel so highly stressed or filled with anxiety that you become unable to continue efficiently getting your work done, take it as a sign that you need to set aside time for yourself away from your work. Studies have found that rest and relaxation can improve information retention and allow you to do even better at your work once you get back to it after some time away.
There are many ways that you can make time for yourself during the school year if you begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed, they can include:
- Taking a walk around your neighborhood
- Scheduling a night in to practice self-care and deep relaxation
- Talking in-person or calling your loved ones to exchange each other’s thoughts and feelings
- Give yourself a day over the weekend to not have any plans so that you can choose to do whatever you feel like doing on that day
- Make a meal for yourself that is nutritious and good-tasting, and enjoy the time to yourself that you’ll get from picking out a recipe, buying the ingredients, and putting it together for yourself
Small efforts like these can truly make all the difference when you’re feeling stressed from school. Once you take some time to yourself, you’ll be sure to feel less tense and more prepared to take on whatever work you may have ahead of you.
Expressing Your Emotions
Expressing one’s emotions can be difficult. Especially as a student during the college years, many people find it difficult when determining who to turn to when things get hard. Since many college students live away from home and usually don’t have the luxury of going home every time they’re struggling with something, it’s important to have a plan of what to do when school begins to take a mental toll.
Expressing yourself is not something that should be put off, as it can severely damage one’s mental health. So, the ways that someone can go about expressing their emotions while in college can include:
- Meeting with a friend to not only talk about how you’ve been feeling, but how they’ve been feeling too so that you can feel less alone
- Calling a trusted family member on the phone to tell them about how you’ve been feeling
- Getting creative and expressing your emotions through a physical means such as poetry or art can be extremely beneficial
- If you have a close relationship with any of your professors, many of them would be glad to talk to you about what you may be dealing with and they may even be able to propose solutions to help
- Talk to a therapist in your area who is a trained professional on the issues you may be facing
When it comes to expressing your emotions, just a simple conversation with someone who cares can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
Staying In a Grateful State
Staying grateful can be a highly useful tool when you begin to feel overwhelmed during back-to-school season. When things don’t seem to be going your way, or you feel like the world is turning against you, one of the best tools you can use is taking the time to remember all the things that you already have going for you and that you couldn’t imagine life without. Stress and pain is relative, things can always be better but they can also always be much worse.
When doing this exercise, it may be helpful to think about:
- The friends and family that you have in your life supporting you
- The resources you have to eat warm meals and sleep in your own bed
- The amazing opportunity you have to receive an education
- The level of health you have that allows you to be in school and study to earn a degree
- The memories you’ll have one day when you look back on your experiences as a student and all the lessons you learned along the way
There are always things you can be thankful for, you just have to make the small effort to remind yourself of what those things are for you. When you make a mental note of all the things you’re truly grateful for during this back-to-school season, you’ll most likely find yourself feeling a lot better about the situation you may have been dealing with before you tried this exercise.
Treatments for Back-to-School Anxiety
We understand that this time of year can cause a lot of stress and potential anxiety, so we’re here to help. If you are someone who is experiencing trouble coping during back-to-school season, if you’re prone to anxiety attacks, or even other forms of mental illness such as OCD or depression, we encourage you to reach out to us! We offer various highly effective treatment options to help those facing difficult times in their lives.
You deserve to feel your best, especially when starting a new school year because you’ll want to start it off right and go into it feeling energized with confidence and motivation. If that is your goal but you’re not sure where to start, please feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to speak with you more about how we can help!